Population changes in London

London has undergone enormous changes over the last 50 years. As the graph shows, the population fell from 8.5 million in 1939 to 6.9 million in 1981 and rose to 8.1 million in 2011.

Population in inner London decreased from 1931 to 1991. Population in outer London increased between 1931 and 1961 before dipping. Total population is increasing since 1991.

These changes in population are the result of the changes in the economic structure of London. For example, as the docks closed, manufacturing was lost, particularly in the Lea Valley. This led to many job losses in inner London and migration out of the city, resulting in a loss of population in inner London.

Since 1981, the number of jobs in financial services and knowledge-based industries has increased. In addition, the redevelopment of London’s docklands (through the London Docklands Development Corporation) in the 1990s, and the more recent redevelopment of the Olympic site in East London, increased the number and variety of jobs available in London, making it a desirable place to live. As a result, the population of both inner and outer London has risen.